“For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
This weekend I was able to catch a flight from Cincinnati (en route to our next meeting), and return to Denver for a special family reunion. My grandfather turned 90 on February 7th, and nearly all of his family made the trek “home” to celebrate! I thought of the verses quoted above because grandpa not only got his threescore and ten years (70), and the fourscore years (80) by reason of strength, but God gave him a bonus 10 years on top of all that! I also think that my grandpa has lived verse 12 – numbering his days as he applied his heart to wisdom and the teaching of the Lord.
My grandfather married my grandmother on a short furlough from the Army in 1951. He had been drafted for the Korean War, but by the time he was ready to ship out, things had slowed down and he never had to leave the US. Grandma was saved during a Billy Graham crusade. They returned to farming in Iowa and started attending the “local” Bible believing church seventeen miles away. When Grandma wanted to be baptized, she and Grandpa met with the pastor. However, the pastor turned his attention to Grandpa and his need of salvation. God used the story of the publican and the Pharisee in Luke 18 to convict Grandpa of his need for salvation, and that day he accepted Christ as his personal Savior.
Grandpa and Grandma have six kids here – Robin, JoEllen, Marty, Scott, Sherry (my mom), and Nathan. Hope is in heaven. Their family blossomed to include five spouses-in-law, twelve grandchildren, and now 16 great-grandchildren. I truly trace my godly heritage (Psalm 16:6) to my grandparents (and how blessed I am to have Christian grandparents on both sides of my family!). Much of the fam is still in Colorado, but we are spread from Wyoming to Texas, Ohio to Florida, and Uncle Nathan in Malaysia!
FAVORITE!!! This picture captures the youngest member of the Paul family, and the oldest. It’s hard to see my Grandpa getting older, but I’m so thankful for all the time we’ve had together. Grandma & Grandpa were always there when I was growing up – every piano recital, every birthday, and everything in between. Now I know they are some of the most faithful to pray for us and support us as we head to the Bronx. So thankful that deputation has brought us back to Colorado several times these last two years. I love you Grandpa!
Ali & Naomi. It was nice to be togehter in person again. Brian & Naomi were home for Christmas when Ali was about Henry’s age, and that was the last time I saw them. They now have four girls and they were all very pleasant to be around this weekend!
Of the whole lot of us, five families are in full time ministry. Marty and his wife founded and run Whisper Mountain Camp in the mountains of western North Carolina. Their daughter, Cassi, and her husband Shaun also work on staff at the camp. My cousin Brian is an assistant pastor in Springfield, OH. He was recently ordained. Kenny (my brother) and Becky are the youth & music directors at a church in South Florida. Kenny was also ordained recently, in December 2015. Ben and I are on deputation to plant a church in New York City. (And Ben will be ordained before we get there – likely toward the end of this year).
Though the rest of my cousins, aunts & uncles, and family are not in vocational ministry, nearly all of them are members at Bible believing churches and have faithfully served the Lord over the years.
What a blessing to be together with all of my cousins (except one who lives overseas) this weekend! The last time we were all together was in 2006 when Grandpa turned 80 and we had a surprise party for him. There were only two great-grandchildren at that time. As part of Grandpa’s 90th birthday celebration, we all sat around and asked questions about his youth and faith. Cassi even recorded it (so we can get the facts straight later on…). The last question asked was, “What one thing do you want to pass on to this group – your grandchildren and great-grandchildren – after you are gone?” In about three and a half minutes (pretty short for Grandpa!) we heard the Gospel and how Grandpa desires each one of us to accept Christ. It was so special to hear him give testimony to his faith!
I’m so thankful for the “fourscore years and ten” given to my grandfather. And as the Lord continues to add bonus years to his life, I’ll be thankful for each opportunity I get to spend time with him here on earth. Then I’ll look forward to praising our Savior together around the throne in heaven!
***Disclaimer. I reserve the right to post a lot more pictures from this weekend!